One of the best experiences we had during our 10 days back in the UK involved mingling with a much younger generation, it sounds cliché but to spend time with amazing examples of bright kids in the UK was such a heart warming experience. The “youth of today”, an expression that is usually followed up by some derogatory comment. As you’ll see here, there are some great inquisitive minds working through the UK school system and we were privileged to meet quite a few.
One of our dearest friends is a primary school teacher in my home town of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Where Simon (otherwise known as Mr D) is completely different to nearly all of the teachers I had at school is that his main objective is to make learning a fun, interactive and challenging experience. This is the same guy who when teaching his class about the Sistine Chapel, had every student tape drawing paper to the underside of their desk, lie on the floor and create something. He wanted them to understand how it must have been for Michelangelo instead of just hearing about it from someone.
Highly aware of how social communications are changing, he was the the first teacher in his school to start explaining social networking to the kids. They now have their own (very secure and highly monitored) class blog and twitter account. It was through the twitter account that I started interacting with them, answering questions about far flung places and hearing about what they were studying. A few months ago Paul came up with the idea of stopping by the class on our visit to the UK and both teacher and kids thought it a great idea. On a gloriously sunny Friday afternoon, just a week before term ended for summer holidays we spent a brilliant afternoon with class Y34D of Hadrian Park Primary School.
We began the afternoon with introductions and an open Q&A. I have to say that I have upmost respect for teachers, having 30 eager faces listening to every word you say is pretty intimidating! They were all incredibly enthusiastic with 30 hands shooting straight up as soon as they were asked for questions. We spent around an hour answering questions such as; what was the scariest animal you’ve seen? Could Paul eat an animal the size of a bear? (his eating rep had preceded him). Which countries had we liked the most? How far has we travelled in miles? It was great fun and fantastic to get to know the kids after chatting with them online for months.
Next up came the highlight of the afternoon, the moment when School of Rock came to Newcastle. Paul, for his sins, is a massive 80s rock fan. I’ve gradually introduced him to more modern music over the years but there is still a special place in his heart for the big haired rockers that are Bon Jovi. He has a great time dancing at weddings as JBJ is always rolled out! The kids caught wind of this and along with Mr D came up with a cunning plan of putting on a recital of sorts for us.
I can’t tell you how huge the grin on my face was when 30 adorable kids burst into a rendition of Livin on a Prayer that they had been rehearsing for weeks. There was dancing, air guitar, Geordie accents – it was absolutely fantastic and definitely worth a watch. Watching how proud they all were to have pulled it off with zero mistakes and the fun they were having together had me alternating between laughing out loud and being a bit teary.
On a slightly more serious note, one of the greatest moments I’ve had since starting a travel blog was receiving some extremely kind words from Y34D’s resident maths genius Louis. Mr D had asked the class to write about someone that inspired them and Louis had chosen to write about Paul and I. Through reading about our travels he’s realised that he wants to explore the world, his exact words were that he wants to see everything! It makes it all worthwhile just to hear that we’ve inspired someone so young to get out and see the world. Thanks for having us Y34D, we had a blast!
If you rocked out to the sounds of class Y34D please let us know by either clicking on the heart or leaving a comment